Monday, July 31, 2017

Observations and Sample of Recent Trades: APLE, HTPRD, NWH.UN:CA, XRE:CA

Donald's Inability to Think Before Acting and To Learn Facts Before Forming an Opinion:   

A. North Korea: 

North Korea is just ignoring him. ‘It Won’t Happen,’ Donald Trump Says of North Korean Missile Test - The New York Times North Korea has now tested two ICBMs since Trump made that statement.

What does Trump mean exactly when he says the U.S. will not allow NK to develop an ICBM with a nuclear tip warhead capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.How to Deal With North Korea - The Atlantic Trump blamed China for North Korea. Then he changed his mind. Then he changed it again. - Vox

Russia is actually increasing its trade with North Korea and providing NK with hard currency to facilitate NK's nuclear program. Russia's boost in trade with North Korea worries U.S. So did China. China Says Its Trade With North Korea Has Increased - The New York TimesFive ways North Korea gets money to build nuclear weaponsNorth Koreans in Russia Work ‘Basically in the Situation of Slaves’ - The New York Times

China and Russia are not going to do anything sufficient to stop what the U.S. has repeatedly called an unacceptable development. So what will Donald do as NK proceeds quickly to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting anywhere in the U.S.? 

The market has assigned a zero risk of a major conflagration in East Asia. Scared About North Korea? You Aren't Scared Enough - Bloomberg    

I would not call Donald a thinker but someone who acts precipitously based on raw emotions and without regard to anything resembling a rational fact based analysis. He has no willingness to learn or to challenge with facts his own reality creations.  

B. Obamacare: 

Will Donald now try to work with the Democrats and a handful of Republicans willing to work with them to improve Obamacare and to stabilize the exchanges? Or will he undertake actions as early as next week to further destabilize the exchanges and to raise premiums for those who voted for him? 

And what about all of this noise Donald is making about eliminating the Senate's filibuster rule?

There is only one rule that would prevent the Democrats from passing legislation providing Medicare to all citizens. That is the Senate's filibuster rule. I am not talking about the current time but at some point in the near future. Once that program is put into effect, the GOP would never able to get rid it. 

The republicans filibustered the passage of Obamacare. It took 60 votes to overcome that filibuster. The Democrats had 60 votes then for Obamacare, but not 60 for single payer. 

If the GOP Senators decided to eliminate this rule, then a single payer system would become law within 15 years when the Democrats gain simple majorities in the Senate and House and a Democrat President willing to sign the bill. 

Trumpcare did not fail due to the filibuster rule, but due to insufficient support from GOP senators faced with a united opposition from the Democrats.  

The last vote that failed only required 50 yes votes with the Vice President casting the tie breaking vote. That bill required only 50 votes since it was being offered through the budget reconciliation process which avoids the filibuster rules.  

Trump Urges End of Filibuster to Pass Health Bill, Which Failed Without It - The New York Times

The repeal only vote did require 60 votes but only 43 senators voted for that bill which simply means of course that it would have failed even if only 50 votes plus the V-P's vote was necessary. Senate Votes Down Broad Obamacare Repeal - The New York Times Seven GOP senators voted with the Democrats. 

So far, Donald and his republican party have made it clear that they will do nothing to fix Obamacare and will do everything within their power to sabotage it knowing that will cause harm to those that voted for them.  

One area of sabotage, and probably the most important, is what Donald calls "Bailouts for Insurance Companies". 

Trump voters and probably most Americans have no idea what he means by that statement. But who is in favor of "BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies"?  

According to Ms. Conway, Donald is going to make a decision this week on whether or not to continue making those payments. 

A Demagogue like Trump knows how to sway ignorant voters with a phrase like "BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies"

Trump has not mentioned yet that several insurance companies have pulled out of Obamacare because of the GOP's efforts to end those payments. 

What is Donald referencing in that tweet? Ask a Trump voter for an answer or clarification?  

Obamacare contained cost-sharing provisions that reduced premiums for low and middle income households. "The ACA’s cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) mean lower copayments and deductibles for people in households earning between 100 percent and 250 percent of the federal poverty level (about $12,000 to $30,000 for an individual, and about $24,000 to $60,750 for a family of four). The federal government reimburses insurers for providing the subsidies, which in 2016 totaled $7 billion." Eliminating Cost-Sharing Reductions in ACA - The Commonwealth Fund 

Obamacare 101-What's the big debate over health insurance cost-sharing subsidies?-LA Times

Trump administration pays June ObamaCare subsidies to insurers | TheHill

The Effects of Ending the Affordable Care Act’s Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments | The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

The GOP has been engaged in trying to eliminate funding for that cost sharing program for several years now in a variety of ways. 

First, the GOP has refused to pass funding for it. 

Second, Obama got around the funding problem, but the GOP then sued the government arguing that Obamacare legislation did not specifically provide for a funding mechanism for this cost sharing and Obama's actions were therefore unconstitutional since only Congress can appropriate the funds.  

The GOP found a republican District Court judge, Rosemary Collyer, who agreed with their position: 

Decision in United States House of Representatives (that is, the GOP) v. Sylvia Matthews Burwell in her official capacity of  Secretary of the U.S. Department of Human Services, et. al (that is, Obama) 

Judge Backs House Challenge to a Key Part of Health Law - The New York Times

After Trump was elected, the named defendant became Trump's Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, so the litigation now, in essence, became Trump vs. Trump.  

This is just one of the many lawsuits filed to disrupt and to sabotage Obamacare.  

The District Court enjoined the Obama Administration from funding that cost sharing but stayed the injunction pending an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Trump has successfully delayed a decision by that appellate court by agreeing with the GOP (the other party to the suit) that more time is needed to reach a legislative resolution. Motion.pdf 

That appeal has become farcical now since the GOP is in effect both the plaintiff and the defendant. The interests of those impacted by the GOP's efforts to sabotage Obamacare are not represented by a party to the litigation. 

As a result of that decision, the GOP and their Leader have taken the position that the President can withhold those payments and that is what Trump has been threatening to do. Those threats alone have caused several insurance companies to abandon Obamacare.  

What Trump could do to make Obamacare ‘implode’ - MarketWatch

What Trump can do to undermine Obamacare, now that the GOP health bill has failed - MarketWatch

Obamacare can be made to work for American families who need it, but the GOP will not allow that to happen. It is just that simple. 

Consensus Is Health Law Can Be Fixed. Now the Hard Part. - The New York Times

Loss of Cost-Sharing Reductions in the ACA Marketplace: Impact on Consumers and Insurer Participation - The Commonwealth Fund

Why Are So Many insurers Leaving Obamacare? - The Atlantic


Trump is the Embodiment of the Modern Republican Party

Over 80% of republicans support Trump at the moment which highlights an important point. There is no meaningful daylight between Trump and the republican party. 

Republicans running for the Senate are hugging Trump and lashing out at anyone who has dared to criticize him. 

GOP Senate candidates race to align with Trump | TheHill


Economic Reports and Articles:

Housing, Manufacturing Won't Save Economy This Year

The Shifting Tides of World Growth ("the key takeaway is that U.S. growth remains relatively anemic while the rest of the world does slightly better. In fact, U.S. growth would look modestly worse if not for rising exports and basically flat imports.")


1. Stocks, Bonds & Politics: Gateway Post: Equity REIT Common and Preferred Stock Basket Strategy:

A. Sold 1000 out of 1300 Northwest Healthcare Properties REIT at C$10.68

The 1000 unit lot was held in my Fidelity account. I am transitioning, as noted in prior posts, from Fidelity to Interactive Brokers to conduct trades on foreign exchanges. Consequently, whenever I sell a foreign security held in my Fidelity account and priced in a foreign currency, I will immediately convert the proceeds into USDs. I am trying to wait for USD weakness before making the currency conversion decision. 

Immediate Exchange of CAD Proceeds into USDs: 

Profit Snapshot: USD+$606.31

Quote: NWH.UN Stock Price - Northwest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust Stock Quote (Canada: Toronto)

Home - NorthWest Healthcare Properties

Of the remaining 300 shares, I bought 200 using CADs on the Toronto exchange. I bought 100 ordinary shares USDs on the U.S. Grey Market. Stocks, Bonds & Politics: Item # 5.A. Bought 100 NWHUF at USD$7.72 (1/27/17 Post) The ordinary shares priced in USDs have outperformed the same shares priced in CADs since early May by approximately 10% due to rise in the CAD/USD exchange rate.

Dividends (more appropriately called distributions): Northwest is currently paying a monthly dividend of C$.06667 per share or C$.80 annually. At a total cost per share of C$10.15, the dividend yield would be about 7.89%. The dividend yield for the NWHUF owners before taxes will depend on the conversion rate into USDs.   

Some prior discussions about this security can be found in these posts: 

Item # 1. Added 100 NWN.UN at C$9.58Update For Equity REIT Basket Strategy As Of 5/5/16 - South Gent | Seeking Alpha

Bought 300 NWN.UN at C$ 7.68 Update For Equity REIT Basket Strategy As Of 7/24/15 - South Gent | Seeking Alpha

I also discussed a purchase in my Comment Blog # 6 (on 12/4/2016 at 11:06 A.M. discussing a purchase at C$9.6).  

Northwest recently completed the purchase of the Australian REIT Generation Healthcare which I owned for a few days earlier this year. Northwest Healthcare Properties REIT Successfully Completes Acquisition of Generation HealthcareStocks, Bonds & Politics: Item # 2.A. -Stocks, Bonds & Politics: Item # 4.A. Bought 700 GHC:AU at A$1.91. 

Other recent news: 

Northwest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust Releases First Quarter 2017 Results

NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust Announces $85 Million Bought Deal of Trust Units at C$10.65 (3/28/17)

NorthWest Healthcare Properties REIT announces successful completion of $70 million offering of convertible debentures (12/15/16)

I will be looking for opportunities to buy Northwest at lower prices, using CADs already owned in my IB account. The prevailing price throughout most of November and December 2016 was less than C$10: NWH-UN.TO Historical Prices

I view the 100 share purchase of NWHUF to be a short term trade, representing an attempt to play a rise in CAD/USD which has so far been successful.  

B. Bought 50 Apple Hospitality at $18.15 ($1 Commission-IB Account):

Closing Price Day of Trade (7/24/17): APLE $18.15 -$0.13  -.7122% : Apple Hospitality REIT, Inc.

Apple Hospitality REIT Website: The portfolio includes 230 "upscale" hotels with approximately 30,000 rooms.

Hotel Map - Apple Hospitality Reit

This is another REIT that is frequently traded for small gains.

Apple Hospitality pays monthly dividends at $.10 per share. The stock went ex dividend for its monthly distribution on 8/1/17: Apple Hospitality REIT Inc. (APLE)Apple Hospitality REIT Announces August 2017 Distribution

In 2016, 24% of the total annual dividend or $.29 per share was classified as a return of capital that reduced the cost basis by the same amount. IRS Form.PDF Supporting a dividend with ROC is not unusual for equity REITs since their payouts frequently exceed GAAP net income even though the payout is supported by cash flow.

At an $18.15 total cost per share, the dividend yield is about 6.61%.

My most recent transaction was to buy 50 shares at $18.58 using a Schwab commission free trade: Stocks, Bonds & Politics: Item # 3.A. (4/1/2017 Post)

I have sold shares at $19.75 (12/12/16); at $20.24 (1/4/17), and at $19.42 (4/26/17).

My last discussion, which included a review of APLE's 2017 first quarter earnings report, can be found in Items # 2.B and 2.C. (sold 100 APLE at $19.43; Bought 50 APLE at $18.3).

Apple Hospitality REIT Reports Results of Operations for First Quarter 201710-Q for the Q/E 3/31/17 (list of owned hotels starts at page 23)

2016 Annual Report (debt discussed starting at page 71)

I am churning my position in an attempt to harvest some stock profits by selling my highest cost shares, buying back shares at lower prices, and collecting a stream of monthly dividend payments.

C. Bought 50 APLE at $18.22-Fidelity Account-Used Commission Free Trade

See previous discussion 

D. Pared HTPRD in Schwab Account (Used Commission Free Trade)-Sold 100 at $25.45

History Schwab Account: 

I am keeping for now the 50 shares bought at $24.9 (6/12/17). 

Profit +$16.09

Quote: Hersha Hospitality Trust 6.5% Cumulative Preferred Series D  Stock (HTPRD)
Issuer:  Hersha Hospitality Trust Cl A  (HT)

With fixed coupon equity preferred stocks bought near their $25 par values, the goal is simply to harvest a few dividends, sell the higher cost shares for whatever profit may be available, and hopefully buy shares back at much lower prices during an interest rate spike.  

Hershey issued what I would consider a suboptimal second quarter report that reflected weakness in several hotel markets: 

Hersha Hospitality Trust Announces Second Quarter 2017 Results 

Revenue Per Available Room - RevPAR

Q2 2017 Results - Earnings Call Transcript | Seeking Alpha

I recently discussed several transactions in this security in Item # 3.A., where I transitioned to lower cost lots after selling the higher cost ones (6/29/17 POST).

The lowest cost lot is owned in my Fidelity account and was bought at $22.88 last December, which highlights why I am doing what I have just done.  HTPRD was sold to the public at $25 in early May 2016 and crested at $25.54 (8/28/16), and then started to fall until bottoming at slightly over $22 last December. HT.PD Stock Chart

The last major decline in the exchange traded bonds and equity preferred stocks categories occurred in 2013 when the ten year treasury yield spiked from 1.66% (5/2/13) to 3.04% (12/31/13). 2013 Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates That moved caused most of those securities to fall somewhere between 10% to 20% in a waterfall type decline, with some falling more than 20%.  Fortunately for investors in those securities, interest rates started to meaningfully decline in 2014.  2014 Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates The ten year treasury yield went below the May 3, 2013 low for an extended period in 2016: 2016 Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates

E. Added 50 of XRE:CA at C$16.04:

XRE Fund - iShares S&P/TSX Capped REIT Index ETF Overview
iShares S&P/TSX Capped REIT Index ETF | XRE

XRE is a Canadian ETF that owns Canadian REITs. Since I have recently sold some individual Canadian REIT positions, I plowed some of the proceeds into Canadian REIT ETFs. 

I recently discussed this ETF in my 7/19/17 Post. The previous buy was 100 shares at C$16.39. As with many other Canadian ETFs, dividends are paid monthly.  

2. Short Term Bond/CD Ladder Basket Strategy

A. Bought 3 Morgan Stanley Bank 1.25% CDs Maturing on 10/27/17 (3 month CD)


B. Bought 2 Bank of China 1.25% CDs Maturing on 10/30/17 (3 month CD):

C. Bought 2 Bank of China 1.4% CDs Maturing on 1/29/18 (6 month CD):

D. Bought 3 Enterprise Bank & Trust 1.3% CDs (monthly interest) Maturing on 1/29/18 (6 month CD):

Bank Holding Company for Enterprise Bank & Trust: Enterprise Financial Services Corp. (EFSC)


E. Bought 3 Bank of Baroda 1.05% CDs Maturing on 8/31/17 (1 month CD):

$13K into Short Term Bond/CD Ladder Basket

3. Intermediate Bond/CD Ladder Basket Strategy:

A. Sold 2 Apple 2.4% SU Bonds Maturing on 5/2/23:

Profit Snapshot: $24.72

FINRA Page: Bond Detail

Sold at 100.2

YTM Then At 2.362%

Bought at a Total Cost of 98.864

YTM Then at 2.43%
Item # 1.B. 

4. Continued Small Changes in an Extremely Underweighted Allocation to Energy Stocks

A. Bought 30 Chevron at $103.82 (used commission free trade):

In my 7/19/17 post, I mentioned that I might buy some shares, which I did a few hours after publishing that post. 
Stocks, Bonds & Politics: Item # 1 I mentioned there some projects that looked like they would contribute to production growth for many years to come. That is about the extent of my reasoning. I can not predict the future price of crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids with anything resembling accuracy. My best guess at the moment is that crude oil demand will start to exceed production in 2018.

Global crude oil balances expected to tighten through 2018-U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Those projects are GorgonWheatstone and Permian Basin. The first two projects, both located in Australia, are also important since production can be sold in East Asia at higher prices than prevailing in the U.S.

Subsequent to my purchase, CVX declared its regular quarterly dividend of $1.08 per share.

The company also announced second quarter earnings that the market viewed favorably.

Closing Price on Earnings Release Day (Friday 7/29/17): CVX $108.12 2.01 1.89%

Exxon also released earnings on the same day: XOM $79.60 -$1.23 -1.52%

Exxon's production declined by 3.9M barrels a day, whereas CVX rose by 250,000 barrels a day. Exxon also missed the consensus E.P.S. estimate by 6 cents, while CVX best the ex-item estimate by 4 cents.

CVX SEC Filed Press Release 

XOM SEC Filed Press Release 

Note the substantial reduction in Exxon's capital expenditures Y-O-Y: 

The same trend applies to Chevron: 

Sooner or later, the much lower capital expenditure numbers will contribute to production falling behind demand, and that is when prices may find a new, higher ranged bound level compared to the current $40 to $55 range for WTI. 

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor but simply an individual investor who has been managing my own money since I was a teenager. In this post, I am acting solely as a financial journalist focusing on my own investments. The information contained in this post is not intended to be a complete description or summary of all available data relevant to making an investment decision. Instead, I am merely expressing some of the reasons underlying the purchase or sell of securities. Nothing in this post is intended to constitute investment or legal advice or a recommendation to buy or to sell. All investors need to perform their own due diligence before making any financial decision which requires at a minimum reading original source material available at the SEC and elsewhere. A failure to perform due diligence only increases what I call "error creep". Stocks, Bonds & Politics: ERROR CREEP and the INVESTING PROCESS Each investor needs to assess a potential investment taking into account their personal risk tolerances, goals and situational risks. I can only make that kind of assessment for myself and family members.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Observations and Sample of Recent Trades: (ARESF, DRG.UN:CA, TDIV)

Trump and Sessions:

Trump continued his assault of the Attorney General last week with multiple tweets. Sessions may rue the day that he accepted the appointment. 

No President has criticized his Attorney General in this way. 

No President has demanded that the Attorney General indict his former opponent.

Donald Trump's public bullying of Jeff Sessions is embarrassing - CNN

Trump: I'm 'just looking at' firing Sessions | TheHill

Scaramucci: Trump "probably" wants Sessions gone - AxiosScaramucci: Trump ‘probably’ wants Sessions gone – video | US news | The Guardian

Trump Steps Up Attacks on Sessions, Calling Recusal Bad for the Presidency - The New York Times

Trump's Attacks on Sessions Are Angering His Base in Deep-Red Alabama - Bloomberg

Trump's desire to fire Mueller went into overdrive after Mueller reportedly started to look into Trump's finances. 

The path to firing Mueller would be easier by first firing Sessions and appointing a Trump loyalist as Attorney General in a recess appointment that will last until the end of this year, which does not require the Senate's consent. Trump talks privately about the idea of a recess appointment to replace Sessions - The Washington Post

Prior to the election, Trump led chants to lock up Hillary, apparently after a trial, but that was not expressed as a precondition to her imprisonment.

After the election, Trump stated that he had no interest in prosecuting Hillary. Trump says he's not interested in pursuing case against Clinton - POLITICO 

His mind changed recently after disclosures about previously undisclosed contacts between top aides and the Russians.

As President, Trump has and will likely continue making statements that a defeated opponent is guilty of crimes before there is even an indictment. That is of course highly inappropriate for a President, but is in keeping with Trump's personality and past history. He is a Demagogue and that is what Demagogues do.  

Back to Trump's tweet reproduced above that accuses Hillary once again of committing crimes. 

Without a doubt, the republicans have been successful in demonizing Hillary, and will continue their efforts, possibly stopping when most Americans no longer know the name, even though she is highly unlikely to run for office again.

House Republicans call for a second special counsel-to investigate Clinton, Comey and Lynch (the House GOP would have already voted out articles of impeachment against Clinton if she had won)

Perhaps, Trump will cause Session or a new Attorney General to prosecute Hillary, and then she can at least have her day in court. That result will inflame the Democrats of course, many of whom view the GOP efforts directed at her as just another politically motivated hit job. The republicans like sending Democrats into apoplexy, which is a most pleasurable form of entertainment for them.  

The problem for the GOP now is that Trump is rapidly losing the independents who voted for him, according to several polls, and they may turn against the GOP  in 2018 and/or 2020.

It remains to be seen whether independents will hold GOP politicians accountable for Trump, separating Trump in their minds from other GOP politicians as if they are distinct and unrelated animals when casting their ballots which is obviously not the case. That appeared to have happened in the special elections held earlier this year. 

There is IMO no daylight between Trump and the modern republican party. Trump and his 40% or so share of the voters are now the heart, soul and essence of the republican party and all republican politicians need to be held accountable for what their party has become and the Demagogue who leads it.  

And why is Trump so upset with the leakers as noted in the aforementioned tweet.  

The leaks that have angered Trump so much have provided information that contradicts false statements made by Trump and his minions related to the Russian investigation. (e.g. the false statements that Flynn did not discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador during Obama's term or the more recently disclosed meeting to acquire dirt on Hillary from the Russians) 

What Trump can not stand is a free press that contradicts his reality creations and lies with facts. 

Trump stated again on Tuesday that he would not have appointed Sessions if he knew that the Attorney General was going to recuse himself, viewed as a proper decision by GOP senators who have expressed an opinion so far. Republican senators express support for AG Sessions - CNNRepublican lawmakers rally around Sessions as Trump intensifies pressure: Reuters 

Maybe Sessions needs to fire the DOJ attorneys involved in this matter:DOJ: Ex-Manafort Associate Firtash Is Top-Tier Comrade of Russian Mobsters - NBC News Donald may lighten up on him.

What is Trump really saying? 

It is crystal clear that Trump wants an Attorney General that would never have allowed an independent investigation and would be willing to stop now the special counsel's investigation into Russia's interference and Trump's possible collusion in that effort.

Trump's statements that the FBI Director should report directly to him is consistent with his effort to undermine the independence of Justice Department and to create a system where Trump, his family and associates are above the law and not answerable to it.

Trump's repeated attacks on Sessions, the first GOP Senator to support him, would be consistent with Trump's ongoing obstruction of justice efforts. 

Since Trump may be setting the stage for firing Sessions and then Mueller, it is important to note that only 48% of voters believe Mueller's ouster would be inappropriate. The number should be a resounding 100%

While demanding servient and unquestioning loyalty from others, Trump's history demonstrates that he is almost invariably disloyal to others. Trump the Disloyalist--POLITICO Magazine  

26 hours, 29 Trumpian false or misleading claims - The Washington Post (does not matter to Trump voters of course and would not be accepted anyway as accurate, irrespective of the evidence, by them)


Scaramucci Attacks Priebus and Bannon

Mooch looks like he has become tired of being Trump's Communication Director after a few days on the job and apparently wanted to become Trump's Chief of Staff: War Inside the White House: Scaramucci Takes On Priebus Over 'Leaks' - NBC NewsScaramucci: If Reince Priebus 'wants to explain he's not a leaker, let him do that' - CNN 

Unfortunately our Dear Leader fired Priebus and anointed John Kelly.  

Trump Replaces Priebus as Chief of Staff With DHS Chief Kelly - Bloomberg

Kelly has proven to be manifestly servile to Trump as Homeland Security Secretary. Time will tell whether closer association with Donald will work out for Kelly. My advice to Kelly is that it may prove prudent to go ahead and lawyer up now.

Scaramucci made the following comments in an interview with the New Yorker: 

“Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.” 

“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock.  I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President." 

There were more crude comments made in that interview. 

Scaramucci referred to a POLITICO article about his finances and claimed that Priebus had leaked the information as an "illegal" act of retribution. The Politico reporter responded that the information in her article was publicly available at the Export Import Bank.  

Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon | The New Yorker

Bob Schieffer calls Scaramucci interview "embarrassing" - CBS News

Anthony Scaramucci apparently calls Reince Priebus “Reince Penis.”

The Mooch has been busy deleting his past negative comments about Donald. Read Anthony Scaramucci’s old tweets. You’ll understand why he deleted them. - The Washington Post 

Trump's personal lawyer allegedly made these comments to a reporter: 

 “I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know. So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?  ... I’m going to mess your life up… for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet… you’re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it” Ex-Wife: Donald Trump Made Me Feel ‘Violated’ During Sex


Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Threatens Alaska's Senators and Alaska:  

Report: Interior secretary called Alaska's senators to threaten them over health care vote - CBS News

Alaska Senators Pressured by Trump's Team Over Obamacare Votes - Bloomberg ("Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has threatened Alaska’s senators with retribution on major energy and public lands decisions because one of them voted against repealing Obamacare, according to one of the lawmakers."); GOP senator: Trump official threatened my stateLisa Murkowski says Zinke contacted her in wake of health care votes -


GOP's Repeal and Replace Plan:

'Skinny' Obamacare repeal may leave 16 million more uninsured, CBO estimates: CNBC (the repeal of both the individual and employer mandates would cause premiums to skyrocket by 20% as healthy people leave the insurance market)

After 7+ years of deep thought, a few GOP senators came up  with an Obamacare repeal and replace plan at lunch last Thursday. The plan was released to other Senators Thursday night shortly before 10 P.M. E.S.T. The Senators shortly thereafter cast their votes. 

McCain decided to join Collins (R-Maine), Murkowski (R-Alaska) and all Democrats to defeat this plan which Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) called a fraud before voting for it. Health care debate: GOP Obamacare repeal bill fails - CNNGraham: 'Skinny bill' a disaster, a fraud (video included); Senate Rejects Slimmed-Down Obamacare Repeal as McCain Votes No - The New York Times

What Trump could do to make Obamacare ‘implode’ - MarketWatch

How the G.O.P. Sabotaged Obamacare - The New York Times

The GOP’s Obamacare sabotage continues - The Washington Post
10 ways the GOP sabotaged Obamacare
The costs of Trump's sabotage of Obamacare already are showing up in rate hikes - LA Times
Trump’s Sabotage of Obamacare Is Working: New York Magazine
Republicans Raised Your Health Care Premiums, Not Obamacare | Policy Dose | US News and World Report 
How Republicans quietly sabotaged Obamacare long before Trump came into office 
Killing Obamacare Softly - The New York Times

The GOP has no intention of joining with Democrats to fix Obamacare and will continue their efforts to sabotage it: 

Blaming the Democrats may not work with independents, particularly if the Democrats launch a well funded and national ad campaign explaining exactly what the GOP has done to sabotage Obamacare and how they refused to work with Democrats to fix its well understood and serious problems: Majorities Across Parties Say Pres. Trump and Republicans Are Responsible for ACA Problems Moving Foward | The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

A recent poll found that only 12% of voters approved of the GOP's main repeal and replace plan: Senate health care plan: Poll shows just 12% of Americans support it 

Yet, notwithstanding that condemnation, the GOP tried to cram it down everyone's throat. 


Data showing Republicans could lose House majority puts pressure on Trump, GOP for tax reform: CNBC

In One Day, Trump Administration Lands 3 Punches Against Gay Rights - The New York Times (Trump is using these actions to draw attention away from his problems and to fire up his base. Sessions is doing what Trump wants in this area)

Boy Scouts official apologizes for 'political rhetoric' of Trump speech - CNN

Trump claims America has 'the highest taxes in the world: CNBC ("one of his most repeated falsehoods"); 

For the third time, Donald Trump, U.S. is not 'highest taxed nation in the world' | PolitiFact

Is the U.S. the Highest Taxed Nation in the World? | Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Ignorance is bliss and viewed now as a virtue by tens of millions. Majority of Republicans Say Colleges Are Bad for America (Yes, Really)

Sooner or later, this chaos, hostility to institutions necessary for a properly functioning Democracy, and rampant Demagoguery and lying will bleed into the real economy. I think the Bond Ghouls and the Currency Traders see the dangers, having dramatically shifted from positive to negative opinions about Donald's likely impact on the economy early in 2017. It is not possible to precisely identify now the  event or events that will trigger major adverse repercussions that can no longer be ignored by informed investors.  


GDP Second Revised Report for the 2017 Second Quarter

I would characterize this report as just more of the same. Nothing has changed from 2016, notwithstanding Donald accomplishing more than just about anyone in American history or so he says. 

The first quarter has been weak for several years in a row now, with some spring in the economy appearing in the second quarter: 

The 2017 first quarter was revised lower in this report to 1.2% from 1.4%. 

The current government estimate is that real GDP grew 1.9% during the first six months of 2017 compared to 2.2% during the first six months of 2016

The government's second estimate for real GDP growth in the second quarter was 2.6%, below the 2.7% consensus estimate. U.S. Economic Growth Rebounds, But Breaking Out Is Hard to Do - Bloomberg (“The economy is moving along at a pace that’s unexciting but not worrisome,” said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. ")

The PCE price index is declining which gave the Bond Ghouls solace last Friday: 

"The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 0.8 percent in the second quarter, compared with an increase of 2.6 percent in the first quarter...The PCE price index increased 0.3 percent,compared with an increase of 2.2 percent. Excluding food and energy prices, the PCE price index increased 0.9 percent, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent." 

News Release: Gross Domestic Product

Closing Prices Last Friday (7/28/17):

Ten Year Treasury Yield: 2.3% Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates
Ten Year TIP Yield: .47% Daily Treasury Real Yield Curve Rates
Average Annual CPI Over the Next Ten Years Estimate: 1.83% (Break-even inflation rate)
IEF $106.82 +$0.18 +0.17%: iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF
TLT $123.89 +$0.73 +0.59% : iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF
ZROZ $114.43 +$1.00 +0.88% : PIMCO 25+ Year Zero Coupon U.S. Treasury ETF
LQD $121.11 +$0.32 +0.26% : iShares Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF


1. Intermediate Term Bond/CD Ladder Basket Strategy

A. Sold 2 Kimberly Clark 2.4% SU Bonds Maturing on 6/1/23:

Profit: $25.04 

FINRA Page: Bond Detail

Sold at 99.6
YTM Then at 2.473%
Current Yield at 2.41%
Net at 99.5 ($2 Commission)

B. Sold 2 Amgen 2.25% SU Bonds Maturing on 8/19/23:

Profit Snapshot +$46.3

Issuer: Amgen Inc.  (AMGN)

AMGN Analyst Estimates
Finra Page: Bond Detail

Sold at 98.1

YTM Then At 2.589%
Current Yield at 2.29%

Bought at a Total Cost of 95.685

ITEM # 1.B.
YTM Then At 2.982%
Current Yield at 2.35%

C. Bought 1 Discover Financial 3.2% SU Bond Maturing on 6/15/23: This was a new offering, but I bought it on the secondary market rather than through Fidelity's corporate notes program.

Issuer: Discover Financial Services (DFS)

Finra Page: Bond  Detail (prospectus is not linked)
Credit Ratings:
Moody's at Ba1
S & P at BBB-
Fitch at BBB+ Fitch Affirms Discover Financial Services at 'BBB+/F2'; Outlook Stable
Discover Financial Services - Investor Relations - Debt Investor Info - Credit Ratings Summary

Yield to Maturity at Total Cost (99.15)= 3.36%

Current Yield at 3.23%
Bought at 99.050

DFS Analyst Estimates

2017 First Quarter Earnings Report

D. Bought 1 Discover Financial Services 4% SU Bond Maturing on 11/15/25:

FINRA Page: Bond Detail (prospectus linked)

Relevant Excerpt From Short Form Prospectus:

Bought at a Total Cost of  99.926

YTM at Total Cost 4.1%
Current yield at 4%

The Discover bonds will be difficult to sell given the relatively small number of bonds that are outstanding.

E. Added 1 Citigroup 3.4% SU Bond Maturing on 5/1/26:

Issuer: Citigroup Inc.  (C)

Finra Page: Bond Detail (prospectus linked)

C Analyst Estimates
Bought at a Total Cost of 99.145
YTM Then at 3.513%
Current Yield at 99.145 = 3.43%
Purchased at 99.045 ($1 Commission)

2017 Second Quarter Earnings Report

Net Outflow: $1K

2. Short Term Bond/CD Ladder Basket Strategy

I continue to anticipate gradual increases in short term CD rates and have been increasing the size of my short term basket. As  CDs mature, I have received incrementally higher yields which are satisfactory to me given my preservation of capital objective and what I view as heightened risks associated with stocks and longer duration bonds (i.e. greater than 3 year maturities).

I am knocking down somewhat my intermediate term bond exposure and plowing the net proceeds into short term CDs along with the proceeds from stock dispositions.

I am picking up some additional current yield with intermediate term bond buys as shown above. I am assuming more credit risk with the purchases compared to the bonds being sold. I have no credit risk IMO with the short term FDIC insured CDs.  

As of last Friday, the Bond Ghouls forecasted a 49.1% chance of one more .25% increase in the FF rate on or before the 12/13/17 meeting: Countdown to FOMC: CME FedWatch Tool The odds increase to 70% on or before the June 2018 meeting. The probability of two .25% hikes on before the June meeting stands at only 24.7%. The foregoing has some impact in constructing my short term CD ladder. 

A. Bought 2 Merrick Bank 1.7% CDs (monthly interest) Maturing on 7/22/19

B. Bought 3 Bank of India 1% CDs Maturing 8/24/17:

This one month CD is replacing a one month Bank of Baroda .9% CD that matured on 7/21/17:

C. Bought 2 Bank of East Asia 1.1% CDs Maturing on 9/21/17:

D. Bought 2 Bank of India 1.25% CDs Maturing on 10/17/17:

$9K into Short Term Bond/CD Ladder Basket Strategy

3. Stocks, Bonds & Politics: Gateway Post: Equity REIT Common and Preferred Stock Basket Strategy:

A. Sold 500 Dream Global REIT (DRG.UN:CA) at C$10.95 and Converted Proceeds into USDs

The exchange rate of .776896 shown in the preceding snapshot is adjusted for a 1% fee paid to Fidelity in addition to the C$19 commission.

Profit Snapshot: USD +$127.43 (Adversely Impacted by the Decline in the CAD/USD)

Quotes: USD Priced Shares Grey Market Listing: Dream Global Real Estate Investment Trust (U.S.: OTC)

CAD Priced Shares Toronto Listing: DRG.UN -Dream Global Real Estate Investment Trust (Canada: Toronto)

Distributions are paid monthly at C$.06667 per unit.

When Fidelity reports profits for Canadian stocks, that firm will use the symbols for the U.S. OTC markets, either the symbols for the U.S. Grey Market or the U.S. Pink Sheet Exchange, as the case may be. 

The symbol shown in the preceding snapshot, DUNDF, is for the USD priced ordinary shares that trade in the U.S. Grey Market. I did not buy or sell those shares. Instead, I bought shares on the Toronto exchange using CADs. 

The IRS will, of course, require U.S. taxpayers to report gains or losses in USDs so the Canadian values for purchases and dispositions have to be converted for tax reporting purposes into USDs. Brokers do a good job, as far as I can determine, in tracking these reportable transactions. 

In addition to the decline in the CAD/USD for some of my lot purchases, the profit was adversely impacted by Fidelity's 1% currency conversion fees and the multiple C$19 commissions.  

As previously noted, I have fired Fidelity as my international broker in favor of Interactive Brokers. Whenever I sell a Canadian security held in my Fidelity account, I will immediately convert the proceeds into USDs since I will not be using the CADs for future purchases in that account.

The price subsequently dropped after the company made this announcement: Dream Global REIT Announces Transformational Acquisition in the Netherlands for $903 Million and $300 Million Public Offering of Units

Investor Presentation of Netherlands Transactions

Sourced from Page 24 of the 2017 First Quarter Report

I may buy back shares when and if the price sinks to C$9.5-$C9.75.

B. SOLD 100 Dream Global REIT (DRG.UN:CA) at C$10.34 (proceeds received in CADs):

I took the proceeds in CADs since this position was held in my IB account where I am now conducting all trading on foreign stock exchanges. 

The CAD proceeds are assigned a USD cost basis for tax reporting purposes. 

When I sell those CADs to buy a CAD priced security in Toronto, I will recognize a reportable gain or loss on the currency transaction based on the then conversion rate. 

Profit Snapshot: C$121

At a total cost of C$10.34 per unit, the dividend yield is about 7.74%. Given my current objectives, I view that kind of yield in today's low interest rate environment plus a profit on the shares as a victory. 

The CAD has been showing significant strength against the USD since early May 2018. 

XE: CAD / USD Currency Chart. Canadian Dollar to US Dollar Rates (use one year chart)

Using FIFO accounting on the currency transactions, I would probably recognize about a 10% gain when selling CADs to buy a CAD priced security now. 

I have not discussed this security much. Some prior discussions can be reviewed in these posts: 

Added 200 DRG:CA At C$8.92 - South Gent | Seeking Alpha

Item # 4 Bought: 300 Dundee International REIT at C$9.27 (3/17/14 Post)

C Sold 100 of 300 ARESF at $10.4-Highest Cost Lot in my Schwab Account:

Position Before Pare:

Sold 100 Using FIFO at $10.4 (used Commission Free Trade):

Profit Snapshot: $22.37

USD Priced Ordinary Shares-Pink Sheet Exchange: Artis Real Estate Investment Trust (ARESF)

CAD Priced Ordinary Shares-Toronto: AX.UN Stock Price

Artis REIT Website

Dividends are paid monthly at C$.09 per unit. Distribution History The C$.09 monthly distribution has remained unchanged since it was adopted in June 2008.

Sourced from ARTIS Investor Presentation May 2017

FFO has been close to flat for awhile:

Sourced from page 5 of the  2017 First Quarter Report

Sourced from Page 12 of 2016 Financial Report

Part of the stagnation has been due to properties located in Alberta. Artis has been trimming its exposure in that region.

Artis Real Estate Investment Trust Provides Update on Property Dispositions Year to Date

Artis Real Estate Investment Trust Announces Disposition of Eight Industrial Properties and One Retail Property in Alberta

Other News:

Artis REIT Announces Acquisition of U.S. Office Portfolio, $100 Million Equity Offering, Proposed Redemption of Series F Debentures and Provides Update on Other Recent Developments (June 2016 Press Release)

Artis Real Estate Investment Trust Announces Closing of  Equity Offering for Gross Proceeds of C$115M Priced to the Public at C$13.2

While I have bought the ordinary shares using USDs on the U.S. pink sheet exchange, most of my transactions have been in Toronto using CADs: 

Item # 1 SOLD 300 AX-UN:CA at C$15.71 (9/26/14 Post)
Item # 3.A. Pared Artis REIT: Sold 200 AX-UN.CA at C$12.94 

4. Added 50 TDIV at $31.28-Vanguard Account ($7 commission):

Quote: Technology Dividend Index Fund ETF

Sponsor's Page: First Trust NASDAQ Technology Dividend Index Fund (TDIV)
Expense Ratio: .5%


Last Discussed: 

Item # 5. Pared Trade Generated by Boredom: Sold 50 ROBO at $33.11 and Bought 50 TDIV at $31.7Stocks, Bonds & Politics: Observations and Sample of Recent Trades: 4/29/17 (SCEPRJ, TDIV WTBA): The GOP's Alternate Reality Universe/S & P 500's Gain Since September 2012 Mostly Due to Multiple Expansion

I now own 150+ shares.

Perhaps, I am bored with my bond and CD purchases. I sold 50 shares at $32.50 in a Vanguard account (6/2/17):

The profit barely exceeded my $14 in round-trip commissions. I only held onto the ETF for about a month, having bought that lot at $31.91.

Roth IRA: +$15.47

There was an intervening quarterly dividend of $.2387 per share Distributions I received that dividend on two 50 share lots own in different brokerage accounts (Schwab & Fidelity)

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor but simply an individual investor who has been managing my own money since I was a teenager. In this post, I am acting solely as a financial journalist focusing on my own investments. The information contained in this post is not intended to be a complete description or summary of all available data relevant to making an investment decision. Instead, I am merely expressing some of the reasons underlying the purchase or sell of securities. Nothing in this post is intended to constitute investment or legal advice or a recommendation to buy or to sell. All investors need to perform their own due diligence before making any financial decision which requires at a minimum reading original source material available at the SEC and elsewhere. A failure to perform due diligence only increases what I call "error creep". Stocks, Bonds & Politics: ERROR CREEP and the INVESTING PROCESS Each investor needs to assess a potential investment taking into account their personal risk tolerances, goals and situational risks. I can only make that kind of assessment for myself and family members.